My Point of View: Candidates busy sharing their messages across state

Published 9:00 pm Monday, September 18, 2017

My Point of View, By Ebenezer Howe

Candidates who have thrown their hats in the ring for the 2018 election cycle have begun in earnest to get their campaigns off to a fast start. We Republicans had candidates speak at our summer outing and try to woo delegates to come out for them at the caucus in February. Several other basic political operating units have had forums for the folks to get to know the guys running for office. This week, the local DFL will be having some of their candidates speaking at an event. I will attempt to get a green card from the local DFL chair to attend and get a feel for what they will be campaigning on, even though it will change somewhat by the time we vote Nov. 6, 2018. General elections are always the Tuesday following the first Monday in November in even-numbered years.

Ebenezer Howe

When I listen to a candidate, the first thing I determine is how close to my ideology he is. This brings me to the common complaint I have with folks who try to hide their ideology by claiming they don’t have an ideology. They claim that they work from a philosophy, not an ideology.

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Well, I looked up both words to see what the difference was. Not much!

Ideology: 1. “A systematic body of concepts, especially about life or culture.” And from another source 2. “A system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.” Boy, I don’t have a problem with No. 2. It kind of hits the nail on the head.

Philosophy: “The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.

• A particular system of philosophical thought.

• The study of theoretical basis of a particular branch of knowledge or experience.

• A theory or attitude held by a person or organization that acts as a guiding principle for behavior.” Bingo.

My goodness, when you get done with the study of your philosophy and get it into implementation terms, you end up with something extremely close to ideology. In fact, it is in the list of synonyms. So when some candidate comes with this crap about not being tied to an ideology but has a philosophy, trust me, he is trying to sell you a bridge, because he cannot justify his position with rational thought.

On Sept. 14, the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota, of which I am on the board, held a forum for governor candidates where all the questions came from the direction of how does this affect your liberty. For me the field tightened, so it is back to looking at ideology of political policy.

During the planning for the forum, we had some contention on who would be allowed to be on stage. Being a liberty group, you would think that would be every declared candidate, but we are also the caucus that works within the party to promote liberty issues, and since politics is a process, not a single event, we compromised. To be on stage, you had to be a currently elected official or just recently been an elected official or attended the 2016 caucus. Those not allowed on stage were given the opportunity to video their answers to the questions, and the Republican Liberty Caucus would post the video on its Facebook page. So, see, we can compromise from time to time. This was a hard sell for the Ron Paul supporters who remembered being stiffed by the party. Due to a scheduling conflict, one qualified-for-the-stage candidate was not in attendance.

A couple interesting questions from the forum: No. 1, “Ron Paul or Rand Paul?” Not surprising to me it was Rand, 4-0, and the reasoning well-founded and indicating that the liberty perspective is not just blown off by the candidates. No. 1, “What is your position on recreational use of marijuana legislation?” Again, and not surprising, 4-0, no, with one candidate indicating a willingness to listen further. I was disappointed in no mention of needed changes in other laws that would make those folks who choose to recreate with weed be responsible for the consequences of its use. Much of the talk was from a statist position and/or that of intolerance.

This brings me to one final thought for candidates — a quote I ran across again this week — the source of which is unknown to me. “Some people should use a glue stick instead of a chap stick.”

Alden resident Ebenezer Howe is chairman of the Freeborn County Republican Party. His views do not necessarily reflect the views of the local party members.